Monday, October 27, 2008

It's That Time!

As of today, we've got exactly a month until Thanksgiving - it's time to start thinking about baking! I have decided that this year - I am starting early (I said the same thing last year and it didn't happen), and then I am going to freeze some things - until Thanksgiving. The first thing on my list to make is, of course, Pumpkin Bread. I love, love, love the smell of it baking. It makes the whole house smell warm and inviting - just like fall. Here is the recipe that I like to use:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I use the sweetened)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Walnuts, and raisins are optional!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil and water together in one bowl, until well blended. In another bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together (sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger). Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture, until well blended together. Add in nuts and fruit, if you prefer. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I also like to bake them in a muffin pan, for Pumpkin muffins, or in miniature loaf pans, to give as gifts.

Since it makes two loaves, I pour batter into one loaf pan, then add some walnuts to the batter left in the bowl, mix it up really well, and then fill the other loaf pan. That way, all of my family is happy - the nuts and the rest of them!

For an extra special treat - melt about 4 tablespoons of butter, and add a sprinkle or two of sugar and cinnamon. While the bread is on a cooling rack, still hot, poke some holes in the top of the loaf/loaves, and pour the cinnamon/sugar butter over the top!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Essentials??

Months back, a friend of mine and some friends of hers cleaned out their cars and listed on their blogs all the stuff they found while cleaning. They were getting a lot of mouth from their husbands about how much stuff they had in there, etc. Anyhow, I cleaned out my car a couple of weeks ago, and didn't make a list, but...I cleaned out my purse today! Ha! It makes me laugh just thinking about it. Darren always gives me so much grief about all the crap I have in there. I'm always complaining about how heavy it is and how there is so much stuff in there. I always assure him that I am just carrying "the essentials", but the more I carry it, the less sure of that I am. So, I decided to clean it out today and this is what I found: 1 wallet 2 checkbooks 1 check book register 1 book of used checks 4 necklaces 7 batteries 1 digital camera 1 bottle of Aleve 1 bottle of Midol 1 kitchen cabinet knob 1 paint sample 1 iPod cord 1 PSP cord (I don’t even have a PSP – this must be Darren’s) 2 bottles of nail polish 1 pair of sunglasses 1 pair of tanning (salon) goggles 1 book 1 bottle of perfume 1 bottle of hand sanitizer 1 prescription bottle 2 tubes of chapstick 2 tubes of lip gloss 4 pens 1 pair of earrings 1 lose earring 5 peppermints 1 butterscotch candy 1 fun size Butterfinger 1 package of crackers 1 Tootsie Roll 2 melted Hershey Kisses 1 packet of single serving Kool Aid 4 hair clips 2 bottles of contact re-wetting solution 6 pennies 3 dimes 1 quarter 1 safety pin 1 party invitation 2 sets of directions 1 car insurance card 1 bottle of water, ½ full 3 shopping lists 4 coupons 1 voter registration card 2 recipes 1 package of pony tail holders 9 bills, 2 un-opened 1 paycheck stub 1 payment book 1 pampered chef order form 1 envelope full of Darren’s allergy info. 1 cell phone, and 47 receipts Ok, so apparently - I carry ESSENTIALly everything!! Needless to say, my purse is MUCH lighter now. Hopefully, it will stay that way!! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Boys Are BACK!!!

So, the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) concert was AWESOME last night!!!! Seriously - it was amazing. One of the, if not THE BEST concerts I have ever been to. Natasha Bedingfield opened, who I think is great. Then - the guys played for over two hours!!! They were great!! They sounded great, looked amazing and put on a hell of a show! We had an eventful evening, but to make a long story short - we started out in section 419 and one of the security guys came up to the girls next to us and started talking to them, and I asked him what was going and and he said "y'all can come too", so we followed him and he told us that he could get us into some better seats. So - we wound up in section 103, beside the stage!!!! It was incredible!!! We had a great time - with all the screaming and singing, all of our throats are raw and my head is killing me, but it was well worth it!! Here are some pictures I took last night:
Welcome Sign, out front.
Entrance to the Toyota Center.
Kelly, Krissy, Tammy, Becky, Me and Jennifer
Beck and I, in the nosebleed section - before we moved!
Becky, Me, Jennifer and Kelly
Krissy and Tammy
Natasha Bedingfield
"Love Like This"
And they're BACK!!!!!
My boyfriend. I mean, Donnie Wahlberg.

"You've Got The Right Stuff"

"Please Don't Go Girl"
Having a blast!!!
Singing her heart out!!
Jennifer, Kelly, Krissy, Tammy and Becky "Tonight"
Look at the crowd! It was packed!! Jordan Knight
Shirt open and a fan going!!
"Cover Girl"
Showing off his ASSets!
"I'll Be Loving You, Forever"
"Step by Step"
Becky, Me, Krissy
The ladies LOVED his ASSets!!
"Hangin' Tough"
2 hours later - their goodbye!! Their dancers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Visit from the Secret Service?

I got this e-mail this morning, and I was in complete shock! I decided to check out to see what they had to say, and this e-mail is listed as "undetermined". I went a step farther and searched the name and location of the writer of the e-mail. I did find her, and she does live in Lufkin. I searched the number that she listed as calling her from "Obama Supporters of Texas". The number is correct. This is an e-mail that she sent to her boss. I am sharing this with all of you because I think it's creepy. I just hope that I don't get visited by the secret service tomorrow! Here it is: Mr. Byars, This is not a forward from me, this actually happened. I am hoping people will send this on so that Americans can know the sort of fascist tactics being used by the Obama Campaign: On Wednesday the 1st of October I received a call on my cell while in the car with my husband. It was a woman who identified herself as calling from the Obama Campaign. The phone # she called from was 903-798-6020 which lists as "Obama Volunteers of Texas" (Texarkana,TX). She asked if I was an Obama supporter to which I replied: "No, I don't support him, your guy is a socialist who voted four times in the State Senate to let little babies die in hospital closets; I think you should find something better to do with your time." I hung up. Thursday, October 2, I answered the front door to find the Secret Service. Immediately I thought of the call and was furious that apparently you are not allowed to call Obama a Socialist without the Secret Service coming to investigate. Instead, they asked me about the following comment, relayed bythe Obama Volunteer of Texarkana who called me, unsolicited on my cell phone:" I will never support Obama and he will wind up dead on a hospital floor. "My husband laughed and told them “No, she called him a socialist but she never said a word about him dying.” I gave them my actual quote. The woman asked insolently “Oh? Well why would she make that up?” I replied that I supposed she wasn’t happy about what I said about her candidate and the Agent said “That’s right, you were rude!” The last time I checked being rude wasn’t a crime in America. Luckily the big file they had gathered on me didn't indicate mental instability or a past life of stalking/crime, however they did want to know how I felt about Obama. That was my limit. I told the Agent in no uncertain terms that my thoughts were not pertinent to their investigation, that this was America and the last time I checked I was allowed to think whatever I wanted without being questioned by the Secret Service. In fact, even if I had said what she claimed, that isn't a threat. I told them (again) and my husband verified that the statement reported by Obama's volunteer was a lie. I asked them if there was a tape of the call and they said no. I said, "So on the word of a ticked off Obama supporter you are on my porch with no other evidence and you want to question me about my THOUGHTS!? "They informed me that there was no evidence she was an Obama supporter…someone calling from his campaign…are you kidding? I was not allowed to know the name of my accuser at which point they informed me that it wasn't like I was in a court of law, YET, as if this was a good thing. I recognized this as a veiled threat. I told them I would happily go to court since I did nothing wrong and at least then my accuser would have to face me rather than sending the thought police to my house. They then said they were trying to do me a favor, that they came to me first before “embarrassing you by going to all your neighbors and family”, another threat? I told them to be my guest and talk to whomever they wanted but they weren’t going to investigate my thoughts on my porch. They also informed me that it would be easier if the next time a supporter calls me I just say "Yeah sure count me in, or just hang up" apparently so she won't get her undies in a bundle and give them more useless trips. Yeah right. I said "Look, someone calls me unsolicited on my cell phone to ask me to support their candidate and I can't tell them why I don't?" I said I was sorry they made a wasted trip but if they had a problem with some made up lie they needed to go talk to her about it because it wasn't my fault they had to drive from Houston for nothing. At one point I went inside and got a notepad to record their badge numbers and they refused to show me their badges. They had done the quick flip when they arrived. I asked for a card and the female Agent refused to give me one stating “You’re not going to get a card.” The male Agent gave me a cardand told me I could contact Houston with any questions. The fact that the volunteer lied, the fact that the Secret Service came to my house to question me about my thoughts and feelings and threaten to embarrass me to my neighbors and go to court if I didn’t cooperate is not really the tragedy here; because that girl on the phone doesn’t have the pull to send the Secret Service to my home. Someone high in the ranks of a campaign working for a man who may be the next President of the United States of America felt comfortable bringing the force of the FederalGovernment to bear on a private citizen on nothing but the word of a partisan volunteer. Do I hear jackboots? Jessica Hughes Lufkin, Texas

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hook 'Em Horns!!

No. 5 Texas stops No. 1 Oklahoma in Dallas, 45-35! DALLAS (AP) -- The Texas Longhorns came into their annual showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners with a quarterback they could trust and a defense playing great under an aggressive new coordinator. Yet even after five solid wins, coach Mack Brown still wondered how good they were. Now, everyone knows. Trailing the No. 1 Sooners nearly all game, Colt McCoy and the No. 5 Longhorns grabbed control in the fourth quarter and refused to let go, pulling away for a 45-35 victory Saturday in one of the greatest games in the storied series between these Red River rivals. Texas trailed by 11 twice in the first half and by eight in the third quarter before spoiling a fake punt and turning it into a go-ahead field goal. It was the first time all season the mighty Sooners were behind, and they answered by regaining the lead. Then McCoy came right back with another go-ahead score - and his defense kept Oklahoma's Sam Bradford from finding an answer. When Chris Ogbannaya turned a play seemingly headed nowhere into a 62-yard gain, the Longhorns were headed to their biggest victory since knocking off Southern California in the January 2006 Rose Bowl, much to the delight of their half of the record crowd of 92,182 at the Cotton Bowl. "It was a game when every time somebody made a play, the other team would get more excited," Brown said. "It was one of the greatest football games I've ever seen." "There are not individuals on the team, not guys who talk about themselves. It's been about 'this team' from Day 1." - Head Coach Mack Brown McCoy's stewardship was terrific, the kind that will be remembered by Heisman Trophy voters. His numbers were good, too: 28-of-35 for 277 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers; he was sacked four times, but turned 14 rushes into 31 yards. "We were able to attack, able to throw the ball," he said. "That was awesome." Where Texas (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) vaults in the poll doesn't matter because if the Longhorns survive their upcoming schedule they will eventually make it to the top. They'll play host to No. 3 Missouri on Saturday, then to No. 17 Oklahoma State, followed by a road game against No. 7 Texas Tech. Of course, they'll go into that stretch with the confidence of knowing they're now on the inside track to a Big 12 title and perhaps the national championship. History is on their side, too. The last time Texas came out of this game undefeated was 2005, the season that ended with the Rose Bowl win and national title. And the last time the Longhorns knocked off the Sooners when they were No. 1 was 1963, the year Darrell Royal won his first national championship. The '08 club lacks a star like Vince Young. It's just a bunch of guys like McCoy - tough, talented and eager to keep surprising folks who thought they weren't ready to win games like this, against a team like Oklahoma (5-1, 1-1). After all, they'd played only one team with a winning record. "Right now, this team would be known for heart and character and toughness and playing together," Brown said. "There are not individuals on the team, not guys who talk about themselves. It's been about `this team' from Day 1." Bradford came in as the triggerman of an offense that seemingly scored at will. They were 5-for-5 in scoring on their game-opening drive and made it 6-for-6 Saturday, after Brown won the coin toss and surprisingly let Oklahoma have the ball first. But new coordinator Will Muschamp's defense limited the Sooners to 48 yards rushing, which meant Bradford had to come through more than ever. He was still good (28-of-39 for 387 yards and five touchdowns), just not good enough to also overcome some breakdowns on defense and special teams. "This is only one game and it's over now," Bradford said. "We can learn from our mistakes and refocus our efforts on the rest of our games from here on out. We still have a lot of football left to play." Only two years ago, Oklahoma lost to Texas and still won the Big 12. And the Longhorns do have that troublesome schedule. "It's not over by far," said OU receiver Manny Johnson, who caught three touchdowns. The Sooners led 28-20 when McCoy marched the Longhorns for a TD that got them within a point. When Oklahoma's next drive stalled just shy of midfield, coach Bob Stoops called for a fake punt, only to see his punter get caught from behind, inches shy of a first down. Texas got a field goal and was lucky to get that, as a third-down pass into the end zone was caught by Oklahoma's Lamont Robinson but popped out when he hit the ground. The Sooners went ahead 35-30 with a touchdown on their next drive, benefiting from a running-into-the-punter penalty and converting a third-and-14. But Bradford was out of comebacks, and McCoy was just getting started. He took Texas 74 yards on the next drive, overcoming a third-and-9 by finding Jordan Shipley free across the middle. The defense closed in at the 5 and he dove for the end zone but his knees landed inside the 1. Cody Johnson rumbled in from there for the lead. Texas went for 2 and Quan Cosby caught it after batting the ball over his head. After the UT defense forced a three-and-out, the Longhorns went 80 yards for a lead-stretching touchdown, set up by Ogbannaya's long run. "We started getting off the field when we needed to and that's when the big plays started happening," said Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, who had two sacks. Ogbannaya, a senior making his second career start, ran 15 times for 127 yards. Shipley caught 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half. Cosby caught nine passes for 122 yards. Bradford threw two interceptions, a meaningless one on the final play and another late in the second quarter that led to a Texas field goal. He also broke the major-college record for touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore. He's up to 59, breaking Rex Grossman's mark of 55, and has at least six games left. Oklahoma middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds tore a ligament in his right knee early in the third quarter and is out for the season.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anaphylactic Shock for Breakfast?

Have you heard about this? It's scary!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Man on a Mission!

Things are just about back to normal! I have been meaning to post these pictures for a while now. Darren managed to clean up the backyard, and keep all of his limbs! He LOVES his new chainsaw, and is secretly looking for things to cut down! Here are some pictures of his work, the men (finally) picking up all of the debri from the neighborhood, and the end result! Getting started. Didn't take too long! You can see his new pride and joy! That thing didn't even hesitate! He stood and stared at this for a good 5 minutes, smiling. He was VERY impressed with himself and his new toy! :) Breaking everything down. Propping the fence up, until the insurance adjuster can come out. Everything he moved from the backyard, to the front yard. Waiting to be picked up. Picking everything up! They had this one machine, and 4 big trucks following him around the neighborhood. It didn't take them long to get full! You can't see it from here, but there was a lot of people standing outside watching! Darren thinks he needs one of those machines! :) All done - driving away. - See how clean the yard is. We just need to rake some leaves. This is what the backyard looks like now!! So, once we can get the fence fixed - everything will be back to normal.